Off-season adventures include fly fishing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding
When the last tubers of the summer exit the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers in New Braunfels, the rivers take on a new life. The fall and winter months provide unique experiences from fly-fishing to kayaking under the stars.
With winter weather that is typically mild and comfortable, adventure seekers are active on the river year-round. The summer months are lively and busy on the rivers, but the off-season is quieter and more peaceful.
“I would say it’s a bit more exclusive and seclusive because you don’t have everyone else in the water with you,” said Stacy Thigpen, co-owner of Paddle TX, an outfitter that offers kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding adventures.
It’s also a great time to see wildlife, both in and out of the water, Thigpen said. “People don’t realize how much more wildlife is on the river because people aren’t in it,” he said. “The water clarity is unbelievable. On the Comal, there’s a plethora of fish that will come out and make themselves available in the middle of the day.”
FISHING THE GUADALUPE
Fish are abundant in the Guadalupe River as well. That’s because from roughly Thanksgiving through spring break, the river is stocked with tens of thousands of trout, making the Guadalupe one of the top 100 trout streams and the southernmost trout fishery in the U.S.
Fly fishing on the Guadalupe is predominantly catch and release. Anglers from around the state and beyond come to the Guadalupe in the cooler months.
A great place to start is at Action Angler Fly Shop & Guide Service. Located on the banks of the Guadalupe, Action Angler is the only stream-side guide service in Texas. That means customers can wade into the river to fish (waders, boots and other gear are available to rent) and get equipment specialized for Hill Country fly fishing. Anglers also get up-to-the-minute fly reports so they know what flies are working for the current conditions. The shop also offers classes, casting lessons and float trips.
One of the best ways to fish the Guadalupe is by floating the river. Action Angler offers guided fly-fishing float trips, with equipment and expertise provided. The river and river bottom are accessible to the public, but most of the land along the river is privately owned, so floating provides access to less-visited fishing spots.
“You have a better chance of catching fish and at the same time, getting peace and quiet,” said Chris Jackson, owner of Action Angler.
For wade-in fishing, another popular is Lazy L & L Campground, where fishing is available along its one-mile stretch of riverfront property.
FLOATING THE RIVERS
Whether you’re into fishing or just want to enjoy floating the river, PaddleTX can get you out on the water in a whole new way.
The outfitter specializes in kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, with both rentals and guided trips available. Both offer a different perspective of the river than tubing. By standing or sitting on top of the water instead of sitting in the water on an inner tube, you get to see what’s below the surface.
Paddle TX offers guided night kayaking tours in their clear-bottom 2-person kayaks. The boats are fitted with LED lights that illuminate the water, offering a glimpse at life below the surface.
“So many locals get in at night and say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this, I didn’t know this was here,” Thigpen said.
Paddle TX has stand-up paddleboard options for both beginners and experienced paddleboarders. Their fleet includes expedition boards, which are sturdy, stable boards that can hold two adults with fishing gear and a full-size cooler.
Paddle TX will create a customized experience that works for any New Braunfels adventure. For visitors staying at a lake-front vacation rental, they will deliver equipment to the property. For guests staying somewhere without river access, they can create a custom itinerary, with equipment delivery to a put-in point and pick up at a designated exit.
Whatever river fun floats your boat, there are several advantages to working with an experienced outfitter. Not only do they provide the equipment, but also guidance on weather conditions, river levels and the best spots to enjoy an excursion.
Plan your winter river adventure today #InNewBraunfels! Find info on outfitters, lodging, dining, attractions and more at PlayInNewBraunfels.com.